Florida climate summit kicks off in Orlando

Climate Summit — Courtesy: Shutterstock — teerayuth oanwong

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer welcomed attendees to the 2021 Florida Energy & Climate Summit, held at the Florida Hotel & Conference Center in Sand Lake Road on Tuesday.

This year, the summit is hosted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Energy and brought together several leaders in sustainability, technology, environmental science, agriculture production, academic research, government, and finance from across Florida and around the nation.

Officials stated that the attendees would share different perspectives, strategies, and ideas in relation to climate change, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried also spoke at the event to discuss Florida’s clean energy investments within the federal infrastructure package.

“This new law will be a game-changer for communities across the entire state,” Fried said.  “From helping rebuild our roads and bridges be safe and more resilient, to facing of climate change, to investing in passenger rail and other public transportation.”

Dyer emphasized that funding could be directed towards expanding the city’s commuter rail and charging stations.

“With $66 billion in new investments in rail, we believe SunRail is well-positioned to compete for expansion funding,” Dyer said.

There was also a discussion of recently filed bills to transition the Sunshine State to net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

“We all want to make sure that we are protecting our environment and we’ve got clean water and clean beaches and clean air,” Fried said.  “These are not partisan issues and so we have to win by coming together and moving these issues forward.”

Meanwhile, Orlando officials have begun expanding sustainability efforts since October, with several businesses signing the Orlando Utility Company’s Solar Pledge.

Dyer stated that the best way to create a lasting impact on the environment is through cooperation and collaboration.

“We can’t do it just as a city government or we can’t just do it as a utility,” he said.  “We need our citizens and our businesses to also play a critical role in that.”

The conference comes as COP26, the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, wrapped up last week.

Stories that matter are our priority. At Florida Insider, we make sure that the information we provide our readers is accurate, easy-to-read, and informative. Whether you are interested in business, education, government, history, sports, real estate, nature or travel: we have something for everyone. Follow along for the best stories in the Sunshine State.